It goes against every coaching fiber in Jim Mora’s being to place more importance on one game over another. But as he stares down a potential three-game losing streak with a debilitating 0-2 start to Pac-12 play, the sixth-year UCLA head coach is forced to confront the reality of his team’s shaky start.
The Bruins can’t afford a loss to Colorado on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
“For us, the most important one is always the one you’re preparing for,” Mora said. “If you take that mindset then you can build some consistency, but I also think it’s very relevant that we need to get a conference win against a Pac-12 South opponent.”
WHEN UCLA HAS THE BALL
No opposing coaches have slowed Josh Rosen yet and Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre is out of ideas.
“Him twist his ankle in warm-ups,” MacIntrye said jokingly of how the Buffaloes might be able to stop the UCLA quarterback.
Rosen leads the country in passing yards and passing touchdowns and has more than 463 passing yards in three of his four games. In the other, Rosen was 22-for-25 passing with a career-high five touchdowns. However, his four interceptions in the past two games have contributed to consecutive losses and the junior is concerned only with the team result at the end.
“I’d throw for negative yards if it meant we could get a few more wins,” said Rosen, who has a 13-10 career record as a starter, 2-2 this season. “Two-and-two isn’t really acceptable as a starting quarterback and I’m doing everything I can – the whole team is doing everything it can – to win some more.”
Despite sending three starting defensive backs to the NFL draft last spring, the Buffaloes are third in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing 199.5 passing yards per game. Colorado has allowed only four passing touchdowns while snagging five interceptions, led by two from junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver. The Colorado decathlete is also tied for the national lead in passes defended with 9.